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Abstract

Trends in market regionalization, market globalization, open trade policies, and market availability facilitates increased trade of agricultural commodities, but implies increased risk for pest introduction and increased levels of pest tolerance. These changes require that the countries examine their phytosanitary status and collaborate to standardize phytosanitary permits. The World Trade Organization Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) mandates the adoption of guidelines and requirements for agricultural trade. A country's responsibility for protecting itself and its trading partners from pests becomes more demanding as the level of international trade in agricultural products increases in volume and complexity. Thus, countries are trying to ensure that measures are in place to meet these requirements. At the same time, the SPS agreement ensures that the requirements are based on accurate scientific data, which are not readily available in all countries. On the other hand, resource limitations, downsizing, and continuous reorganization of agricultural quarantine, surveys and inspection programs are not always in keeping with the increased market trends. The expected outcome could be an increase in the number of pests introduced and established in the region. In Latin America and the Caribbean islands this problem is underscored by abundance of entry points, low number of phytosanitary personnel, limited access to equipment, technology, the lack or limited access to literature, and insufficient information on presence and distribution of pests in the region. The creation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security supports activities that improve pest surveillance, early detection, rapid diagnostic of animal and plant diseases and pest threats, but the problem of invasive species persists. Knowledge of Latin America and the Caribbean islands strengths, weaknesses, and training needs will help to determine where the threats to American plant resources exist and what impact they could have if they enter the United States. In this paper, we present an analysis of the education, training and technical assistance requirements for protecting Latin America and the Caribbean and the U.S. from Invasive Species. The analysis contemplates existing training resources, the need for pest surveys, risk potential and assessment, eradication and management programs, and the need for a regional approach for invasive pest management.

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